State Roundup, August 3, 2016

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HEALTH CHIEF ADMITS BED SHORTAGE: Maryland’s top health official told a Baltimore judge Tuesday that he should have asked for more money in this year’s state budget to relieve a bed shortage that has prompted his department to turn away patients from state mental hospitals. Van T. Mitchell, secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was summoned to court to explain why he and five other top department officials should not be held in civil contempt for failing to carry out court orders to admit criminal defendants in a timely manner, Michael Dresser reports in the Sun.

FEDERAL, STATE HELP FOR FLOOD VICTIMS: State officials on Tuesday publicized a variety of existing government programs that can help victims of this weekend’s flash flood in Ellicott City, but the total amount of aid available is unclear. Some money may be tied up in political wrangling. As workers continued to clean up and stabilize Ellicott City’s historic downtown, which was torn up by the flood that coursed through its heart, state officials were busy identifying tax dollars to help, Erin Cox writes in the Sun.

Gov. Larry Hogan enjoys spending the 32th annual National Night Out in Beltsville. From Hogan's Facebook page

Gov. Larry Hogan enjoys spending the 32th annual National Night Out in Beltsville. From Hogan’s Facebook page

LEAD CASES MUST PROVE ‘PROBABILITY:’ People claiming to have suffered residential lead poisoning must show a “reasonable probability” that they were exposed to the toxin at a specific home in order to get their claim to trial, Maryland’s second-highest court has held. Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record that in its 3-0 decision, the Court of Special Appeals said a mere “possibility” of exposure at a given residence warrants summary judgment in favor of the defendant landlord.

BAY OXYGEN LEVEL PLUMMETS: The amount of oxygen within Chesapeake Bay waters plummeted last month, a setback for a environmental barometer that had started the summer at a promising level. State environmental officials blamed a heat wave for the decline. Warm water holds less oxygen than cold water does, Scott Dance reports for the Sun.

OYSTER HABITAT RESTORATION: A state panel recommended Monday night that Maryland resume work on restoring oyster habitat in the Tred Avon River near St. Michaels, part of a broader effort to revive the Chesapeake Bay bivalve decimated by overfishing and disease, writes Bill Turque in the Post. Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who campaigned on a promise to ease regulations on watermen, halted the project on the Tred Avon, a tributary of the Choptank River, this past winter.

HOGAN VETO OVERRIDE SOUGHT: A clean energy and climate policy group is calling for an override of Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that advocates say would have created high-paying energy jobs and cleaned up Maryland’s air, reports Chase Cook in the Annapolis Capital. The Maryland Climate Coalition is calling for the veto override after a smattering of air quality alerts in July. A total of eighteen alerts were issued for unhealthy air quality days. These alerts are issued by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Now project.

***SEEKING ASSESSMENT ADMINISTRATORS: Seeking motivated individuals to proctor assessment sessions with 4th- and 8th-grade students in schools for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Must be available to work January 30 –March 10, 2017. Paid training, paid time and mileage reimbursement for local driving, and weekly paychecks. This is a part-time, temporary position. To apply, visit our website at and select “Search Field Positions.” Search for your state, find the NAEP Assessment Administrator position, and select the “apply to job” button. For more information email or call 1-888-237-8036.***

ON TO GOVERNMENT HOUSE: Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR reporting team, say Maryland politicians are looking past this year’s presidential race and setting their sites on the next run for the governor’s mansion in 2018.

KAINE TO ADDRESS URBAN LEAGUE CONFAB: The National Urban League’s annual conference begins in Baltimore today with a tribute to shooting victims and a keynote address about race and economic equity at New Shiloh Baptist Church, the site of Freddie Gray’s funeral. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, running mate to the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, will address the delegates Thursday. Republican nominee Donald Trump and his campaign declined the invitation, the league said. Both Clinton and Trump were invited to address the convention, writes Yvonne Wenger of the Sun.

INFRASTRUCTURE WORK AS UNIFIER: With big differences in economic policy separating the presidential candidates, one researcher said there’s common ground that could help boost wages, create jobs and close the socioeconomic status gap, CNS’s Hannah Klarner writes in Alice Rivlin, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said tackling the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure could be an economic unifier for the nation.

CAUSE OF MO CO 911 CRASH: A series of mishaps and systemic weaknesses, starting with a cooling unit low on refrigerant, caused Montgomery County’s 911 system to crash for nearly two hours on the night of July 10, causing about 100 callers to get busy signals when they tried to report emergencies, Bill Turque reports in the Post.

REPORTER LOU DAVIS DIES: Lou Davis, who reported on Maryland politics for more than three decades and established himself as a State House press corps elder statesman, died of pancreatic cancer Tuesday morning at his Millersville home, Jacques Kelly of the Sun reports. He was 79.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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